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"Fear is a stranger to the ways of love. Identify with fear, and you will be a stranger to yourself." -ACIM

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Bowls Week Two

Ok College Football fans, it was another short week in the bowls and the FBS only gave us enough games to wet the bowl appetite. But, a few of them showed some promise. Saturday turned into ACC day with three of its schools taking part in bowl games and going 2-1.

I went 4-3 on my picks for this week and am pretty much out of my pool at this point, but I’ll drag it out anyway for my own self loathing. Just kidding.

I hope everyone had a great Christmas and I wish you all the best in the coming year as this will be the last college football post of 2008.

Moving on…

R&L Carriers New Orleans Bowl attendance: 30,197
Southern Miss over Troy 30-27 in OT
This was a third straight miss pick for yours truly. I figured Troy’s offense would put up some major points on turf in the dome and roll on over S. Miss. Not so fast… Southern Miss dominated the offensive categories; however this was a very competitive game with the halftime score nodded at 17. The third quarter saw Troy put up 10 points and then turn around and give up 10 in the fourth to the Golden Eagles. Troy ended up missing a field goal in OT and then it was up to Britt Barefoot to knock in the 39-yarder which he did. By the way, Barefoot is a great name for a kicker; too bad he actually wears shoes.
Southern Miss after starting the season 2-6 has now run off 5 straight wins to finish 7-6. I guess that’s good? I mean can you really get pumped about a 7-win season (4-4 in C-USA)? Even if you are Southern Miss, that can’t get you really excited. Troy on the other hand finished 8-5 and even though they lost this one I have to think they have a better chance of improvement since 3 of the losses came against major programs: Ohio State, Oklahoma State and LSU. And hey, they did win the Sun-Belt Conference.

San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl attendance: 34,628
#11 TCU over #9 Boise State 17-16
What the hell? Come on Boise, I had you picked in this one! The Broncos finish 12-1 on the year thanks to a lack of offense in the second half after jumping on TCU and going up 13-0 in the second quarter. I guess when you get out rushed 275-28 what can you expect? So much for MAC’s prediction about these guys being a force next year. I don’t think that this team will get anywhere near 12 wins next year after they lose some seniors and fewer recruits commit to play on the blue turf. And, blowing a perfect season in the bowl game isn’t going to help moral. I really expected more from a 9 vs. 11 matchup, but then again I don’t think either of these teams deserved their rankings after watching this game. You can argue good defense all you want, but this was just a lack of play making by both squads. TCU dropped to 11-2 to finish the year but will be lucky to repeat that record next season. This bowl also gets my “Most Ridiculous Name for a Bowl Game” award. I know there are a bunch of bad ones out there, but this is just dumb. What does that credit union have to gain by sponsoring a bowl game? Are the good people of Boise or Texas going to start banking in San Diego County? No. Are you? No. Why not just let the Poinsettia Industry promote their fantastic holiday shrubbery?

Sheraton Hawaii Bowl attendance: 43,487
Notre Dame smacked Hawaii 49-21
Um… so we ran out of travel money so we need to invite some big name school to come play us in our little bowl and bring all their rich fans to spend money on our island. Who can we get… oh yeah! Notre Dame. Who knows maybe we’ll even beat them. Oh wait, we are not the Hawaii of 07. Thankfully dear reader I didn’t have to suffer through watching this one. I did however pick Notre Dame because, well Hawaii just sucked this year. I think the Irish could have won this one even if actual Hawaiian Warriors had been on the field throwing spears at their receivers. They should have done something about Jimmy Clausen before the game because even he looked like a good quarterback against that defense. 22/26, 401yds, 5TDs and no picks. Notre Dame only accounted for an additional 77 yards outside of Clausen’s performance. Guess that’s why they finished 7-6 and if you thought Southern Miss wasn’t happy about 7 wins, just ask the Irish how they feel. Hawaii finishes at 7-7 so, yeah… Aloha. Worst bowl game so far if you factor in final score and matchup.

Motor City Bowl attendance: 41,399
Florida Atlantic over Central Michigan 24-21
Let’s see CMU was 8-4 going into the game and its being played in their own back yard. You gotta pick Central Michigan right? Of course you do; and you’d be wrong. When it comes down to your team having to recover an onside kick, it’s never good. I do have to hand it to the Owls though. Nobody really gave them much of a chance in this game. Poor Detroit. The Lions suck and their college kids can’t even beat FAU which finished 4th in the SunBelt and ends up with a 7-6 record. This was a fairly competitive game overall, but I can’t say a SunBelt vs. MAC matchup gets me really excited on the Friday night after Christmas.

Meineke Car Care Bowl attendance: 73,712
West Virginia over North Carolina 31-30
Finally I picked a winner; just barely. This was a great game to watch and very exciting in the first 20 minutes with the score at 23-21 UNC with 10 left in the half thanks to a safety after failing to punch one in the end zone and giving WVU a long field. All congratulations go to Pat White for being the first guy in D-I (FBS) to start and win 4 bowl games in his career. The guy put his team on his back and with a lot of help form his offensive line went 26/32 for a career high 332yds; 3TDs and an INT. The pick aside it was a great performance by White and he threw some amazing passes for score as well as contributing 55yds on the ground. His last strike came in the fourth to tie the game with the extra point proving to be the difference. While White had a great day, I loved watching UNC’s Nicks go off with 8 catches for 217yds and 3TDs. This guy dragged a defender 7 yards into the end zone for his first and out ran one and stiff armed another for his second. He also had the best catch I’ve seen all year late in the game that you’ll just have to look up yourself. This was a very entertaining game and unlike ND vs. UH, this pitted regional rivals in a tight contest.

Champs Sports Bowl attendance: 52,692
Florida State blows out Wisconsin 42-13
The only thing I’m going to say about this is that I picked the right team because I read my own blog. If you go back through the year you’ll note that I’ve hated on Wisconsin all year. They even received a Biggest Loser one week. The Badgers might as well have stayed in Madison because this was not worth burning up the gas to go down to Florida and not show up for a bowl game. Wisconsin is yet another team to finish 7-6 while Florida State looks to be a young team on the rise after a few down years. 9-4 isn’t where they want to be, but its better than 7-6; right Wisconsin? I needed to do some laundry anyway, so the second half of this game gave me plenty of opportunity.

Emerald Bowl attendance: 42,268
California over Miami 24-17
Not a shocker here and an easy pick since the game was played 12 miles form the Cal campus and Miami had to travel about 3,000 miles. And guess what? Miami finished this week’s trend by finishing 7-6 on the year while Cal finishes strong at 9-4. At least Miami put up a fight (unlike Wisconsin) and did have a chance to get back in this game after tying it up at 17 in the fourth with a field goal. This game was all about Cal’s defense standing up at all the right times to keep Miami out of the end zone. And, Miami didn’t do themselves any favors by having five starters suspended (typical Miami football) and turning the ball over twice. Cal should be looking up for next year. They get to get rid of Nate Longshore and their schedule should be a little bit more favorable. If Cal’s defense comes back mostly intact next year I see them competing for the conference. And, while I would like to hate on Miami, I like Randy Shannon and I hope he does well as a head coach. If you get a chance look up some footage of this if you missed it. The stadium configuration was very interesting with both teams sharing one sideline since they were playing in AT&T Park.

Next week cranks up the Big Boys of the Bowl Season! Until then… Peace!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Bowls Week One

Time to go Bowling!

I will keep you dedicated fans up to date on both the bowls and what will probably turn out to be my crappy picks on them (1-3 after week one) since I had to do it over the phone with five minutes left to get in my choices.

Congrats to Shane for getting married last week. Wish I could have been there but at least this way I didn’t get to make my reception speech where I told everyone about that one night at the gang bang… I mean… the cookies and milk sleepover…

Moving on…

Eagle Bank Bowl attendance: 28,777
Wake Forest over Navy 29-19
I had Navy because I thought they would be able to run the ball effectively and Wake would have a let down after the ACC season they finished. Alas, Navy got out rushed by Wake and Skinner had a good game going 11 for11 and a TD. Navy ended up giving away the game late with 14 fourth quarter points to lose by 10. Oh well. Navy is Navy and Wake will miss Skinner next year.

New Mexico Bowl attendance: 24,735
Colorado State over Fresno State 40-35
I missed this pick too since I didn’t care about either of these teams in the State Bowl. New Mexico is apparently cool enough to get its own bowl featuring two teams representing states. Well, Colorado Sate represents a state while Fresno Sate represents a city in a state. You still with me? Good. This game was all about offense with over 1,000 total yards; Colorado Sate getting over 600 of those. 21 fourth quarter points don’t hurt either and Colorado Sate finishes 7-6 to match Fresno State’s 7-6 and neither team should consider this a “good” year.

Magicjack St. Petersburg Bowl attendance: 25,205
South Florida over Memphis 41-14
I picked a winner in this one, well I picked South Florida, that doesn’t exactly make them winners, but they did win this game. 29 first downs and 35 minutes of possession will always help out. Memphis didn’t really put up too much of a fight in this one with South Florida out rushing them 232-66 and I’m kind of glad I didn’t watch it. Home games in bowl games are gay and I wish they wouldn’t do it. But, who would travel to see this match up?

Pioneer Los Vegas Bowl attendance: 40,047
Arizona over #16 BYU 31-21
Lots of people came out to see BYU fall apart and blow yet another pick for me one week one. How are you going to get upset by Arizona? The PAC-10? Come on man! This however was the best game of the day with the stats being pretty much equal and both teams putting up good offense and defense. (Comparatively). BYU drops their third game of the year to finish 10-3 and the BCS people can breath a little easier since the supposed system buster got busted by an Arizona team that finishes out 8-5.

Well I will see you people next week when we catch up on some classic match ups like Troy vs. Southern Miss and Hawaii vs. Notre Dame. Wow.

Peace be with you all and Merry Christmas, Happy Kwanza, Hanukah and Boxing Day.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

A Book Review: American Gods

American Gods By: Neil Gaiman

American Gods is an interesting book that will make you think while providing some entertainment. It won’t however make you think too hard or provide too much entertainment. But, a good book none the less.

The story revolves around a guy named Shadow who is released form prison and then gets caught up in an adventure or more like a quest to save the gods of the old world who are fighting to survive in the new world (America). There is no real time reference in the book but one can assume that it takes place in the present as there are cell phones and other modern technology.

The book’s premise is that the gods of the old world have been surviving here in America on what little belief people still have in them. They are fighting not so much to win over new believers but to keep the new American gods from killing them off forever. The old gods are weak because they claim that America is not their place and that America is a bad place in general for gods to try and survive. That is why Wednesday (an old Norse god and leader of the resistance) enlists Shadow to help him win a war between the old and new gods in America.

Are you confused yet? Don’t be. The book itself explains everything quite well after it gets the reader to suspend all reality and sets up how the gods got here in the first place. You then have to believe that the old gods still walk among us and scrape out their existence by working regular jobs. For example, there is an old Egyptian goddess who works as a prostitute and gets her clients to “worship” her as they have sex in order to get her strength. There are two gods that work in a funeral home who gain their strength by feeding off of the dead. (not as gross as it sounds) There are gods that work in convenience stores, cafes, and work as bouncers. It was interesting to see what Gaiman came up with for some of these characters and I found it funny at times.

Oh and after you get over the gods that walk among us thing, you also have to get to the point where your comfortable with Shadow’s dead wife showing up from time to time to help him in his quest and several trips to the underworld in his dream sequences. There are a lot of dead people that contribute to the story line and a few flash backs to the old world that you’ll have to get used to as well.

Overall I can’t give you too much on the plot without giving away the whole story. But, American Gods has a good flow to it and I found myself caught up in the quest with Shadow wondering where all this would end up taking him. He even dies at one point and then has to come back and contribute to the story again. You’ll think you have this book figured out about half way through, but the end has a little twist on it and, while good, is not exactly what you thought was coming.

So if you have a long train ride ahead or are just looking for a “different” kinda book to read one of these days, pick up American Gods and enjoy.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

The Jenkins College Football Playoff System

Ok, so like I promised, I have two different methods for a better system than the BCS without getting rid of big money bowls and the BCS system itself. There are 34 Bowls this year. Why not use them to do some good and truly figure out who is the best out there. I mean come on! Cincinnati vs. Virginia Tech? Texas vs. Ohio State? (Buckeye fans get ready for another ass kicking.) And the Sugar Bowl is going to be worse than Georgia’s beat down of Hawaii last year when Alabama Rolls Tide over Utah. Utah vs. Alabama? Please. The only one that might be a game is USC vs. Penn State and I think USC is going to take it easy.

But first, this is what the computers gave us as a final standing:
BCS FINAL RANKINGS:
1. Oklahoma 12-1
2. Florida 12-1
3. Texas 11-1
4. Alabama 12-1
5. USC 11-1
6. Utah 12-0
7. Texas Tech 11-1
8. Penn State 11-1
9. Boise State 12-0
10. Ohio State 10-2
11. TCU 10-2
12. Cincinnati 11-2
13. Oklahoma State 9-3
14. Georgia Tech 9-3
15. Georgia 9-3
16. BYU 10-2
17. Oregon 9-3
18. Michigan State 9-3
20. Pitt 9-3
21. Missouri 9-4
22. Ball State 12-1
23. Northwestern 9-3
24. Boston College 9-4
25. Mississippi 8-4

Moving on…

The first system as you will see has no regard for conference affiliation and simply uses the top 16 BCS ranked schools (after conference championship games) in a simple playoff bracket. You’ll notice that I went ahead and played it off as well. You’ll also see that I took the top bowls for the playoff. The remaining 17 bowls can invite whoever they want and have games. I’d watch! They just don’t get a chance to play for the BCS National Championship

The second system is a little more complicated but brings the conferences into play. What you end up with is 24 teams with 8 schools getting a first round bye week. How do I come up with those eight? Well, you have the conference champions of the BCS conferences. (ACC, Big-East, Big-10, Big-12, PAC-10, SEC) as well as the highest ranked two champions from the other conferences such as the Sun-Belt, Mountain West, MAC or WAC… wherever. You then have 16 teams playing in the first round to advance with NO reseeding. If Texas has to play OU again, then so be it. You’ll see what I mean in a minute. With Oklahoma taking the number one spot over Florida in the BCS it kind of sets up some rematches, but, that’s this year. Other years could be different.

Playoff Idea Number One:

Round One:
#1 Oklahoma Gator Bowl #16 BYU
#7 Texas Tech Independence Bowl #12 Cincinnati

#5 USC Outback Bowl #10 Ohio State
#14 Georgia Tech Holiday Bowl #3 Texas

#4 Alabama Insight Bowl #13 Oklahoma State
#6 Utah Music City Bowl #9 Boise State

#8 Penn State Chick-Fil-A Bowl #11 TCU
#15 Georgia Capital One Bowl #2 Florida

Quarter Finals:
#1 Oklahoma Orange Bowl #7 Texas Tech
#5 USC Cotton Bowl #3 Texas

#4 Alabama Liberty Bowl #9 Boise State
#8 Penn State Rose Bowl #2 Florida

Semi Finals:
#7 Texas Tech Fiesta Bowl #5 USC

#4 Alabama Sugar Bowl #2 Florida

BCS National Championship Game:
#2 Florida vs. #5 USC
Florida wins 31-28

This is my second idea with the bye week built in and incorporating more teams. You’ll see again that I’ve played it off but didn’t put in too many upset calls.

ROUND 1
Game 1 #3 Texas vs. #16 BYU
Game 2 #7 Texas Tech vs. #18 Michigan State
Game 3 #11 TCU vs. #21 Missouri
Game 4 #14 Georgia Tech vs. #23 Northwestern
Game 5 #15 Georgia vs. #24 Boston College
Game 6 #13 Oklahoma State #22 Ball State
Game 7 #10 Ohio State vs. #20 Pittsburg
Game 8 #4 Alabama vs. #17 Oregon

ROUND 2 (* = Team receiving a bye week by winning conference)
#1 Oklahoma* vs. #14 Georgia Tech
#5 USC* vs. #13 Oklahoma State
#8 Penn State* vs.#10 Ohio State
#19 Virginia Tech* vs. #4 Alabama
#9 Boise State* vs. #3 Texas
#12 Cincinnati* vs. #7 Texas Tech
#6 Utah* vs. #11 TCU
#2 Florida* vs. #15 Georgia

ROUND 3
#1 Oklahoma vs. #3 Texas
#5 USC vs. #7 Texas Tech
#10 Ohio State vs. #6 Utah
#2 Florida vs. #4 Alabama

ROUND 4
#1 Oklahoma vs. #10 Ohio State
#2 Florida vs. #5 USC

Championship
#1 Oklahoma vs. #2 Florida
Florida wins 38-31

College Football Championship Week

Time for Championship Week in the world of College Football!

Ok, so this will be a shorter version this week since it was a Championship Saturday. Tune in tomorrow when I unveil to you the first ever Jenkins System for College Football Playoff. I’m telling you, it’ll be entertaining and much debate will ensue since I actually have two different methods of how this could/should work, both of which in my opinion are better than this stupid BCS system.

A fun day in the world of college football, as long as you aren’t a Missouri fan, and one of the best SEC Championship match-ups since 2003. It was a long day of TV watching and now I feel like my Fall hibernation should end and maybe I’ll start doing something on Saturdays rather than drinking and watching TV all day… well let’s not get ahead of ourselves just yet. The Bowls still have to be played.

On another note, what the hell Dr. Pepper!? How much money did they pay the NCAA to sponsor the whole day? Every game was Dr. Pepper this and Dr Pepper that. And did you notice that on the halftime challenges that the two girls from the SEC Championship game did better at the same toss game as the two guys from the ACC Championship game? Too bad the hot one lost.

Moving on…

CHAMPIONSHIP GAMES OF THE WEEK:
(Brought to you by Dr. Pepper; they threw me $5 for that)

SEC Championship Game
#4 Florida over #1 Alabama 31-20

I do believe I told you so on this one. Florida is just too strong and too fast for anybody to keep up with this year. I had predicted the score to be 45-20 so I guess I wasn’t giving Bama’s defense enough credit. The game was awesome though. Very clean and well played by both teams (only 8 total penalties and one late turnover) and just some phenomenal players on both sides of the ball. This game was SEC football. Tebow did what he had to do with the absence of Harvin (14/22 216yds. 3TDs and 57yds. rushing) and the Gators should be bringing another National Championship home to the SEC this year. I do hope a lot of people got to see this one because it was back and forth the whole game with neither team really taking over until Florida did so in the fourth quarter. I do think that Alabama was slightly overrated, but expect this team to be back next year despite losing their senior QB Wilson and a few linemen. As far as Tebow goes, I think he is the best college football player, leader, quarterback… you name it. He deserves the Heisman again this year. I hate to say it cause I hate Florida and Tebow, but the guy is hands down the best out there.

Big-12 Championship Game
#2 Oklahoma over #20 Missouri 62-21 (Beat Down of the Week)
To be honest with you, I quit watching this game at halftime. It wasn’t worth it. Oklahoma would have been better served to play Texas again and settle the Big-12 South rather than waste America’s time by playing Missouri and beating them for the second year in a row for the conference championship. Total domination for the Sooners after about midway through the second quarter. Missouri just had no balance in their offense and their defense was just pathetic. The Tigers got out played out willed and out classed; period! Rushing Yards: 243-60; Passing: 384-294; Turnovers: 3-0; all for Oklahoma. Whatever, this games unlike the SEC game, sucked! It was fun to watch Oklahoma do whatever they wanted to, but as far as a Championship game, I wanted to see more of a contest and less of a beat down.

ACC Championship Game
#25 Virginia Tech over #18 Boston College 30-12
Another rematch from 2007 and another win for Virginia Tech. It seems like BC can only take them out in the regular season and have no idea how to win it all. This was a much better game than the score would indicate though despite both teams making some big mistakes. The game was one of who wants to win it much like the ACC was all year long. I don’t want it, you take it, no you, no you… 7 total turnovers in the ball game and a late safety. For Tech it was the Tyrod Taylor show with the QB doing his best Mike Vick impersonation (11/19 for 84yds and an INT; 11 carries for 30yds and 2TDs). BC unfortunately relied too much on the passing game with a QB that just isn’t strong enough to lead them to a Championship. The only real entertaining portion of this game was the defenses that were all over the place. BC has some good linebackers! Anyway, the ACC had a down year and VT just had to not lose in order to win back-to-back titles.

MAC Championship Game
Buffalo over #12 Ball State 42-24 (Upset of the week)
You know, some teams want to win and some don’t. Ball State wanted it but just didn’t want it enough. Buffalo is a perennial loser in that conference and has had a great rebuild, but there is no way that Ball U should have let that happen. It’s as if someone walked up with a silver platter filled with the best that life has to offer; Conference Championships, BCS bowls and caviar and Ball State just sneezed all over it. The Cardinals were given a winning lottery ticket and decided to use it as toilet paper. This is why… the MAC is WAC!

RIVALRY WATCH:
Navy over Army 34-0

Zero if by land and 34 if by sea a seventh straight win for Navy! (I just came up with that). A tradition in college football is to watch one of these teams dominate the other and feel sad that no matter who wins, they all have to go off and “defend” our country. This is the life they’ve chosen and I for one, even though I disagree with them, am grateful for their choice. Neither of these football teams are ever any good, but I never put them in my pillow fights or beat downs, because both teams (Air Force too) are full of great men and I’m glad that for a few hours on a Saturday they can forget about their obligations to the country and just play some football.
On a completely different note. WTF Army? Those uniforms did not do it for me. I get it, wear camo and maybe Navy won’t see you. But it didn’t work out that way. Go back to your traditional uniforms next year.

CONFERENCE CHAMPIONS:
ACC: Virginia Tech
Big East: Cincinnati
Big-12: Oklahoma
Big-10: Penn State
Pac-10: USC
SEC: Florida

C-USA: East Carolina
MAC: Buffalo
Mountain West: Utah
Sun-Belt: Troy
WAC: Boise State


MY Heisman Vote:
The stats don’t tell the whole story, but I’ll give them to you anyway. And, if you go look at the defensive stats for the teams these QBs played you’ll see that Tebow faced a hell of a lot tougher competition on defense than either McCoy or Bradford. Like I said before, best overall player… Tebow. I have way too much man-love for him on here this week. I need to go take a shower.

1. Tim Tebow; Jr. Florida: 2,515 passing yds, 28 TDs, 2 INTs, 15 sacks, 176.74 passer rating; 154 rushing attempts for 564 yards and 12 TDs; 0 fumbles.

2. Colt McCoy; Jr. Texas: 3,445 passing yds, 32 TDs, 7 INTs, 20 sacks, 179.20 passer rating; 128 rushing attempts for 576 yards and 10 TDs; 0 fumbles.

3. Sam Bradford; So. Oklahoma: 4,464 passing yds, 48 TDs, 6 INTs, 9 sacks, 186.29 passer rating; 40 rushing attempts for 65 yards and 5 TDs; 0 fumbles.

Come back tomorrow for what will surely be a much debated post about the playoffs. Have a good one people!